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Dem lawmaker accuses Gov. of not stopping Medicaid cuts


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - At least one Democrat accuses the Walker administration of not doing enough to try and stop thousands of Wisconsinites from losing their Medicaid health coverage.

But state Health Services spokeswoman Stephanie Smiley is confident that Washington will not cut off any Medicaid recipients -- because they wouldn't want to see it happen.

State Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith wants a federal waiver that would let 215,000 Wisconsinites get lesser and cheaper Medicaid coverage for programs like BadgerCare.

Otherwise, he says 53,000 recipients would lose their care at the end of the year, as the state tries to wipe out a $554 million Medicaid deficit.

Smith's plan must be approved by the state Legislature's Joint Finance Committee next week, giving federal officials less than 2 months to consider the waiver.

Assembly Democrat Jon Richards says that's not enough time. And he wonders if Smith planned to cut off people all along, while making the waiver request a, "political sideshow."

Jon Peacock of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families says he also wonders why the state health agency waited so long to move its plans forward.

Smith said Monday a couple technical changes were made in response to comments made at recent public meetings about the proposals.